Who Is The One Politicizing Our Kids?

To the Editor:

Rob Roper’s commentary published in The Caledonian Record on May 29, 2019 posits that liberal claims about the environment are causing a rise in teen and young adult suicide rate. He makes this claim without providing any proof other than his own opinion. He does not cite any data, scientific study or even peer-reviewed journal articles to justify his claim. As someone who is concerned about both the high rate of teen and young adult suicide as well as the environment, I wondered after reading his commentary if my views about the environment could be contributing to the suicides of my fellow young Vermonters?

What I found out is that it is well documented by those who study why people commit suicide and those who work to prevent them that there is no single cause. The U.S. Center for Disease Control states that “suicide is rarely caused by any single factor, but rather, is determined by multiple factors.” Therefore Mr. Roper’s claim that liberal views about the environment and their solutions—include a carbon tax—are causing teens to take their own life cannot be supported by research or hard data.

But could anxiety over the future of our environment be one of many factors contributing to the increase in teen and young adult suicides? He would be partially correct if true. However, anxiety over the environment is not listed as a factor for suicide in any list of such factors I could find, nor was it even listed as a cause of anxiety as Mr. Roper claims.

It seems to me that until Mr. Roper can provide some hard evidence for his claim, I believe it is just a hypothesis based on his political viewpoint; and as such, he is the one politicizing our kids.

Steven Isham

St. Johnsbury, Vermont

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